James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist

  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Something you’ve seen before

Posted by James McPherson on April 14, 2009

fake-newspaper-clipping4You probably haven’t seen the exact headline contained on the newspaper clipping here, though perhaps you would expect to by now.

Though it won’t win me a “Webby” (not to poke fun at the awards, since PBS, NPR and FactCheck.org have all been among the winners), for my 300th post I thought I’d do something a little different–or pretty much the same, as has become the case for much of American journalism.

I wrote the original post contained in the “clipping” here back on April 1. Sadly, unlike my other post of the same day, the information here is all too real.

You can make up your own fake clippings (or many other items, such as the one below) at the Clipping Generator. clapperboard-2

4 Responses to “Something you’ve seen before”

  1. zelda said

    Oh great……
    You cannot get good outcomes if you are forever accentuating the negative. Yessssss I know there are BAD things afoot.Don’t confuse the need to know what’s happening and the misuse of that news.
    Do you “trained” newsgivers hold to any social responsibility other than antagonizing the public for personal attention ?
    I am afraid everyone’s agendas eventually show up in neon.Let’s try for that Pulitzer for instance?????
    NOOOOOOOO…………I don’t believe in the pollyanna news……….but I do believe in responsible news.
    I find your” Pretty White Girl”article infalmmatory .Why don’t you do something positive with that like posting articles of missing Blacks or Yellows or Greens?
    There is no room for small thinking in our media tinderbox.
    For Gawds sake……..”webby awards”????????????
    “Chat” news programs?
    Make up your own clippings?
    All crap egoism.

  2. James said

    @zelda: The “need to know what’s happening” is not in play here. We survive OK without media frenzies around most of the murders and kidnappings that happen in the world. Why do we “need to know” about the pretty girls?

    McPherson makes the larger point well: from a constant flow of raw data, news media select the phenomena to which we’ll be paying attention. It’s worth thinking about the biases that distort this selection. The “1 American = 4 Frenchmen = 400 Africans” bias is part of that. So is differential sympathy depending on the age, gender, and race of a kidnapping victim. So is the bias toward covering events rather than systems.

    By drawing attention to these things, McPherson shows that he does have a sense of social responsibility. He also shows evidence of a sense of humor; look back and see if you notice an example or two.

  3. zelda said

    James………you have out thought me.
    I will try to look at the bigger picture with both eyes.
    Yes…I notice the humor……….but my jury is out on Jame’s take of responsible reporting of his views. Which for the most part I tend to agree with by the way.
    Dialog is everything.thanks

  4. michellefrommadison said

    Stop victimizing victims Nancy Grace, and stop helping to lose the life of non-convicted victims again. You belong in prison for the crimes you have done, and get those twin kids away from your drunkenness and your pill-popping. Maybe you should tell the viewers on every show that you are under state and federal lawsuits again for your role in assisting to end the life of a mother of a missing child, and while you’re at it, mention that those twins do not have the same father and neither twin is biologically related to your husband. Try being truthful for a change.

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